My past reviews of Redemption’s Straight Rye boil down to: “sufficient for cocktails”. Redemption sources whiskey from MGP – formerly known as LDI – in Indiana, like a vast number of other products on the shelf today, and hasn’t had any post-maturation embellishments (cask finishes, extra aging, etc.). The same is true of this “High-Rye” Bourbon, which is a fairly standard MGP recipe of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% barley (for enzymes). This straight bourbon is aged by law for a minimum of two years, but (by taste) is probably closer to 4 or 5 years or perhaps is a blend of different ages. It’s bottled at 46% ABV. My bottle is from batch 127.
Nose: Slightly grassy, but more like “sweetgrass” or green clover than grass clippings. Acidic (white vinegar), with a shy background of caramel and oaky vanilla. Deeper in the glass there’s candied cherries, baking spices, frosted gingerbread, and nougat. A rest in the glass makes these aromas more accessible, but they are still shy.
Palate: Woody up front, with dry barrel tannins and vanilla extract. After a very mild tongue burn, the sweeter flavors emerge – the same ones from the aroma. Candied cherries, gingerbread, frosting, etc. Very consistent.
Finish: Medium-long. Again the consistent range of flavors persist through the finish, but slightly drier and with more of those baking spices. Turns slightly bitter (charcoal) as it fades.
With Water: A few drops of water bring out a little more fruit – cherry pie filling now – and also increase the “dry oak” note. Take or leave water with this one.
Overall: Nothing wrong with this bourbon, although I can’t say there’s anything special about it, either. “High-Rye Bourbon” is not exactly a new concept, and LDI/MGP bourbons are a dime a dozen. Ten years ago I would have complained about paying $30 for “just ok” bourbon, but these days that’s about what it costs. Still, I’m marking this “Not Recommended” because there are other bourbons that are better for that price. If you’re like me and just going to make cocktails with it after tasting, then it’s safe to just buy a bottle.